The following is purely my opinion, with no intention whatsoever to state any of it as fact.
In 2002, Transformers returned to its roots, more or less. The toys looked more like the toys from the 1980s, though not as blocky or simple, they weren't too rounded, complex, or simply weird. The cartoon was also somewhat reminiscent of the G1 cartoon. Somewhat better animation, a somewhat better story, and a good promotion of the toys. (Which, let's not forget, is what all the cartoons are from G1 to Prime.) The comic series, which was my personal favorite of this revival, had a mostly fluent story, which may have started out slow, but revved up about halfway through and ended with a really good story arc. And the game was just pure fun.
The cartoon. First, let me point out that I did not watch the cartoon when it premiered. I watched the entire series for the first time ever over a 2 week period last year. I heard bad things regarding the the animation errors, and they were mostly right. However, that did not prevent me from enjoying the series for what it was. The focus was on the Mini-Cons, small Transformers who could enhance the powers of both the Autobots and Decepticons. They were also the secret weapon against Unicron, who, much like his G1 version, was a giant planet devouring Transformer. In the story, Hotshot was a somewhat important character, who had to learn how to be responsible and make good choices in combat and for the survival of both humans and Mini-Cons in the struggle against the Decepticons. Optimus Prime, to me, seemed like the cookie-cutter Optimus, just like in any other series, except maybe Beast Wars/Machines. But even that wasn't too different. Megatron, on the other hand, seemed to be more menacing that his previous incarnations, even G1. The closest, ironically, would be Beast Wars/Machines Megatron, who was voiced by the same person, and had the same ruthless unstoppable streak ol' Grapeface did. Optimus could combine with his trailer like before, but one more special ability distinguished him from Primes in previous series. He was now able to combine with Jetfire as well, and once combined, use Overload (sometimes referred to as Ultra Magnus) as a shoulder-mounted cannon. Unicron was handled well, and used several episodes to set up his arrival and the subsequent battle against him. The cast of characters wasn't as vast as some previous series, even with Hasbro's need to sell toys. Overall, the series was OK to watch, as long as we kept in mind that it was a 22-minute toy commercial. The final episode, "Mortal Combat" is one of my favorite episodes from any TF series, and it's a fairly good setup for the next series, Energon.
The toys. Personally, I really liked the Mini-Con concept. It was a little bit of a tribute to Head-, Power-, and Targetmasters from G1, but also something new. They combined, which was a feature I really liked, and it also had that Pokemon-like "gotta collect them all!" effect as well, at least on me. I still remember, my very first Armada toy was Starscream, purchased in November 2002. Then I followed it up with Megatron, Jetfire, and Optimus. I still have those pieces, though they have seen better days. I didn't buy a lot of the toys, even if they reminded me a lot of G1. But they did get me back into collecting, as I had gotten away from it the last 10 years. I had Prime, Scourge, Magnus, and Galvatron from RiD, but I never paid much attention to that series, it just didn't appeal to me. Maybe that's why I appreciated Armada even more. Then came Unicron. I wasn't even anticipating him, as I didn't keep up with toy news much back then. Then, one day I happened to be in TRU, and decided to check out Transformers. There he was, on the bottom shelf. $85. Finally, a Unicron toy. I got giddy and bought it. As I said, I hadn't seen the cartoon, and this was before the comics got far enough into the story. I had no idea, even though I had been a member of Seibertron.com since 2001. I considered Unicron the final piece of my collection, though over the years I picked up a few I missed and wished I didn't. Currently, I only have 9 Armada figures. They are Megatron, Starscream, Tidal Wave, Cyclonus, Demolisher, Prime, Jetfire, Red Alert, and Hotshot. I have them because, except Jetfire and Demolisher, they are the cast of the video game, but more on that later. I also have the Star Saber, the Dark Saber, and the Skyboom Shield and its repaint. Overall, I liked the toys. They were colorful and poseable.
Last edited by Rodimus Prime
on Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.